architecture · community · creativity · design · environment · play

Dalston House: where every visitor becomes Spider-Man – video | Art and design |

A Victorian terrace has popped up in east London that lets you swing from its ledges, run up its walls and generally defy gravity. Architecture critic Oliver Wainwright hangs loose at Dalston House, the novelty installation by Argentinian artist Leandro Erlich.

The artist talks about “enjoyable discovery” and playing with spaces that you might not otherwise think of.

I love how it is an interactive piece of art that only exists when people play with it.

more at Dalston House: where every visitor becomes Spider-Man – video | Art and design |

design · play

Abandoned park becomes interactive art installation

Thanks Inhabitat for featuring this great story about reclaiming unused public space and making it more playful:

Berlin’s Spreepark Planterwald amusement park, also called Kulturpark, has been abandoned since 2001, but this summer several curators took over the overgrown park and transformed it into a big, interactive art installation. The park reopened at the end of June, letting visitors tour the ruins and witness nature’s takeover of the Soviet-era amusement park. Inhabitat was on hand to check out the park and explore the art installations at the perimeter of the park.

For ambitious curators, Anthony SpinelloGeorge Scheer,  Stephanie Sherman and Agustina Woodgate (an Inhabitat favorite) were stationed at Kulturpark for the summer, organizing site-specific installations around the park, as well as artistic programming to engage the community once again with this abandoned place. With help from the curators, the fate of the park, which goes up for auction next year, may veer toward a place for public consumption, and hopefully create a place for the public to enjoy the grounds and non-profits to conduct cultural programming for the community.

+ Kulturpark

What unused spaces would you like to have seen turned into a public art space or public park? Leave your ideas in the comments below.

Paper Geodes

I’m on a role with these public art installations, although this one is technically a little older, but I’m still happy to share. I also like that it’s somewhat guerrilla artwork, and done in places that might not otherwise get noticed:

Paige Smith prefers to express her point of view through 3D paper sculptures instead of traditional paint. Her finished works represent mineral formations like crystals, quartz, and especially geodes. But instead of finding these gems in nature, she creates them in some of the oldest neighborhoods in L.A.

“Design is a means to an end,” Smith says. “An effective design creates a bridge between an idea and a recipient. The key term is effective. The creative challenge lies in finding a design solution that doesn’t just hang there but is an active conduit for communication.”

Nowadays people’s attention spans are short, and therein lies the point of her art. Like geodes and other mineral formations that may be found on a hike in the mountains, her paper sculptures are meant to be unexpected treasures. Smith says she understands that many people will not notice her art when they walk along the crowded streets of Echo Park, the Arts District or Abbot Kinney Boulevard. In fact, several of these paper geodes have already been dismantled or thrown away, and one fell victim to the rain. Their fate is not that different from the objects we see in nature as we walk along a hiking trail – but the memory and photographs live on. Smith maintains an online map for those who wish to hunt for the existing ones.

Geode #5 once touched an Echo Park sidewalk. Smith says she understands that many people will not notice her art when they walk along the neighborhood’s crowded streets. This one has disappeared. [credit Inhabitat and Paige Smith]
Geode #10 sits plunked in a wall on the facade of an old brick building in the Arts District. [credit Inhabitat and Paige Smith]

Read more: Paige Smith’s Paper Geodes Add Sparkle to Nondescript Los Angeles Buildings | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building

Know of any good yarn-bombings or other public art meant to improve or enhance public space? Share your findings with me via email or in the comments below.

community · creativity · Social

Storefront Seattle: taking art to the street (window)

Before and After example of Storefronts Seattle project.

With the down economy a lot of stores and businesses have gone out of business, leaving a lot of empty store fronts, at least in places around Seattle. But rather than let those places stay dark and dormant, one woman is spearheading an effort to get local Seattle artist’s work installed in these vacant storefronts:

Storefronts debuted in late 2010 as an experiment in activating vacant spaces with art, creative enterprise, and performance… We also revitalize neighborhoods. And we beautify blocks. And we make areas safer at night, and we market real estate, and we paint walls and mop floors and install lighting and turn desolate half-empty blocks into the hippest, happiest, and hottest real estate in town.

Storefronts Seattle leases storefront space from neighborhood property owners for the nominal rate of $1 per month. We can program up to 15 storefronts in any given neighborhood at any given time, and we fill these spaces with art installations, with creative businesses, and with artist’s studios. These projects are proposed by artists throughout the region, and are chosen by a panel that includes neighborhood representatives, local museum curators, arts professionals, and our programming staff.

At full integration into a neighborhood, Storefronts Seattle is programming up to 60 arts installations per year into your spaces. That’s enough to instantly turn any neighborhood into a walking destination, an arts and culture destination, and a shopping destination. It’s enough to generate regional press. It’s enough to get the city’s creative class and cultural leaders to pay attention.

More at Storefronts Seattle

This is a great project where everyone benefits: property managers get free positive attention for their site, artists get their work exposed, and normal people get to benefit from the art for free!

It also involves a lot of local Seattle neighborhood organizations, bringing attention and buy-in from various communities around Seattle. There are quite a few installations in place right now through May.

What a great opportunity to improve and enrich everyone’s environment. Know of other groups out there taking advantage of empty spaces like these in other cities? Share them in the comments below!